Introduction of Cray X-MP supercomputer
The Cray X-MP was a supercomputer designed, built and sold by Cray Research. The company's first shared-memory, parallel vector processor (PVP) machine. It was the 1982 "cleaned up" successor to the 1976 Cray-1, and the world's fastest computer 1983–1985. The principal designer was Steve Chen.
The X-MP shared the "horseshoe" design of the earlier machine and looked almost identical on the outside. The processors initially ran on a 9.5 nanosecond (105 MHz) clock (compared to 12.5 ns for the Cray-1A), delivering a theoretical peak speed of 200 megaflops per processor and 400 megaflops for the original two processor 1982 machine. Other improvements over the Cray-1 included: better chaining support and shared memory access with multiple memory ports per processor.
Cray Research continually enhanced the X-MP over the years. The X-MP/48 (1984) contained 4 CPUs with theoretical system peak speed of over 800 megaflops. The X-MP/48 also introduced vector gather/scatter memory reference instructions to the product line. Clock speeds were improved to 8.5 ns (117 MHz), giving a per-cpu peak speed of over 230 MFlops. Memory sizes were also increased over time, culminating in the X-MP/EA series machines (1986) which offered the newer Cray Y-MP 32-bit memory addressing, in addition to the older Cray-1 compatible 24-bit addressing.
The system initially ran the proprietary Cray Operating System (COS) and was object-code compatible with the Cray-1. UniCOS (a UNIX System V derivative) ran through a guest operating system facility. UniCOS became the main OS from 1986 onwards. The DOE ran the Cray Time Sharing System OS instead. The Cray X-MP was used for rendering "The Adventures of André and Wally B.," a short film by the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project, which evolved into Pixar Animation Studios. The Cray X-MP was also used for rendering graphics in The Last Starfighter.
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